Activity: A Guide for Building My Cultural and Linguistic Competence

Activity: A Guide for Building My Cultural and Linguistic Competence

Use the grid that follows to rate yourself on each practice related to the three components of cultural and linguistic competence. Identify areas of strength and areas for growth toward cultural and linguistic competence to guide for your plan to build cultural and linguistic competence for mental health consultation.

SELF-AWERENESS Regularly Sometimes Rarely
Understand my own culture:  

  • I am conscious of how my own culture and experiences shape my personal world view.
  • I reflect on my own values, beliefs, and attitudes.
  • I make note of my perceptions and expectations of myself and others, separately and in our interaction.
  • I recognize that culture is dynamic and my perspectives and expectations are influenced by context
  • I observe and adapt my interactions with others.
  • I recognize my perceptions and understanding of emotional and behavioral development and concerns.
Acknowledge Cultural Differences:  

  • I am aware that everyone has a unique world view.
  • I make note of differences in values, beliefs, and attitudes.
  • I recognize that culture is dynamic by nature and differences may be influenced by context.
  • I recognize different ways of communicating and interacting with one another and adapt as needed.
  • I focus on influences of culture on family, child development, and community.
  • I explore perceptions and acceptance of outside services and supports, including those that address emotional and behavioral development and concerns.
Acquire Cultural Knowledge and Skills:  

  • I take advantage of formal and informal opportunities to research and partner in order to increase my knowledge and skillsFor example: engage families and staff in respectful conversation to share cultural information and insights; read articles; read magazines or community newspapers; view videos; attend cultural events; link with faith-based leaders and organizations; work with cultural brokers or liaisons; participate in continuing education opportunities
  • I recognize that learning about culture is not a static process, but requires continuous revision of my knowledge and skills
Understand Behavior Within a Cultural Context:  

  • I view behavior and the expression of values, attitudes, and beliefs through a cultural lens
  • I understand the concepts of family, child development, parenting, education, and intervention within a cultural context.
  • I acknowledge the unique perspective and practices within a cultural context
  • I recognize and appreciate the relational context of culture
Build Capacity to Communicate Effectively:  

  • I speak /learn the language of consultees
  • I partner with bilingual/bicultural staff
  • I access foreign language interpretation services
  • I communicate with print materials in easy to read, low literacy, or alternative formats;
  • I use materials developed and tested for specific cultural, ethnic and linguistic groups; and
  • I access translation services for important documents, such as consent forms and confidentiality statements, mental health education materials, etc.
Engage in Self-Assessment:  

  • I spend time reflecting on my personal/professional attitudes, behaviors, and practices, particularly in my role as consultant.
  • I explore the origins of and influences on my personal/professional attitudes, behaviors, and practices.
  • I observe how my personal/professional attitudes, behaviors, and practices influence my work with young children, families, and program staff, and diverse communities.
  • I use supervision or peer interaction to engage in self-assessment and reflection on my personal/professional attitudes, behaviors, and practices.

Review your responses and identify areas of strength and areas for growth toward cultural and linguistic competence.

Strengths :

Areas for Growth :

(California Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Training Guidelines Workgroup, 2009; Goode, 2009; Lynch & Hanson, 2002)

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Next Steps:
Now that you have identified both your strengths and areas for growth, consider how you might use this information to build your cultural and linguistic competence.  Some next steps might include:

  • Using this practice list to try new ways of thinking about, exploring, and understanding the influence of culture for you personally and in your work as a mental health consultant.
  • Identifying specific actions or activities that relate to those items you rated as areas for growth and plan your personal next steps for learning.
  • Using this list in supervision to focus reflection on cultural competence and ways to become more effective in working with diverse children, families, and staff.
  • Seeking out and discovering resources, like those described in this tutorial and listed in Resources and References, that can help develop new understanding, insights, and culturally relevant consultation practices.

Remember, becoming culturally competent is a personal and professional journey that includes increasing awareness, knowledge and skills, in providing culturally and linguistically competent consultation services.

See also this website’s Administrators page for a related checklist – Self-Assessment Checklist for Personnel Providing Services and Supports In Early Intervention and Early Childhood Settings..

Unpacking these three key components of cultural competence described in the previous section – Self-Awareness, Respect for Diversity, and Reflective Practices – into specific activities and behaviors provides a framework or guide for mental health consultants to build personal and professional cultural and linguistic competence. Movement towards cultural and linguistic competence is a developmental and very personal process or journey. The starting point for this journey is less important than the consultant’s willingness to address the elements of cultural and linguistic competence and to make progress in building their awareness, knowledge and skills. When working toward cultural and linguistic competence, it is essential to engage in authentic periodic self-assessment and self-reflection in order to acknowledge areas of strength as well as plan steps and approaches to improve areas that require growth and development.

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This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.